Country's tallest ATC tower ready for take-off in Mumbai

ATCThe tower was inaugurated by Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ajit Singh and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan Friday. Pradip Das

Union Minister of Civil Aviation Ajit Singh and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan Friday inaugurated a new Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower with improved visibility to enable safer aircraft operation. The wishbone-shaped ATC tower at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) is set to become functional from December 2013.

The 83.8-metre-high ATC tower is currently the tallest in India. But the one under construction at the international airport in Delhi will be the tallest (102 m) after completion.

Built over an area of 2,800 sq m, the new ATC tower in Mumbai will take care of 750 landings and take-offs in addition to controlling 960 other flights, including international overflying air traffic. Calling it a precursor to the overall upgrade at CSIA, Chavan said: "The new terminal is expected to be ready in two to three months. Both the new terminal and the ATC will improve the efficiency of airport operation."

The ATC tower draws inspiration from the architectural design of the international airport at Hong Kong and its construction began in 2011. With a 360 degree view, a 5 mile visibility and clear view of the two runaways, the new control centre is expected to enhance airport performance, capacity, efficiency and safety, according to the Mumbai International Airport Private Limited (MIAL), a joint venture of the Airport Authority of India and GVK-led consortium.

The new ATC has been equipped with electronic flight strips to record flight movement, which will bring down workload of air traffic controllers and also enhance safety of airport operations.

Once the new building becomes operational, the existing 60-m-high ATC will be brought down to make way for a new taxiway at the airport. MIAL also plans to increase the airport capacity by creating additional taxiways and rapid exit taxiways to reduce the runaway occupancy time in future. The airport handles 44 million passengers per annum as of now.

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